Unjust Borderlands: Injustice and Cultural Bordering

3rd-5th May 2017, Greifswald

The International Research Training Group (IRTG) “Baltic Borderlands: Shifting Boundaries of Mind and Culture in the Borderlands of the Baltic Sea Region”, a collaborative program among the universities of Lund, Tartu, and Greifswald, in cooperation with UC Santa Barbara’s Borderlands Cluster, organizes a conference for discussing the phenomenon of injustice and inequality in borderland situations.

Injustice occurs wherever – individually or institutionally perceived – social and/or legal norms have been infringed. However, particularly in borderland situations, applicable rules and norms collide, overlap and often are difficult to decide on. Injustice in such situations is not just the negation of justice – as Eric Heintze has recently shown. Rather, the traditional polar relationship of “unjust” and “just” has also to be put into perspective of ethical principles and the complexity of contexts, in which “unjust” situations occur. Furthermore, these principles, norms and contexts have been changing over time. Therefore, the assessment of “unjust” situations has been subject to change and development as well.

Against this background, injustice in borderland situations emerges through cultural bordering processes where two or more cultures share a border. Collective ideas and socio-cultural frameworks at the border determine conflicting, overlapping, and hierarchical systems of norms and principles, which have a considerable impact on the perception and assessment of injustice. Taking into account the impact of socio-cultural frames and active trans-cultural bordering processes, we are interested in the consequences of social categories, power discourses, social hierarchies and their representations in creating and/or overcoming injustice and inequality. Furthermore, besides theoretical approaches, we invite historical accounts about changing perceptions of injustice over time, depending on different levels of structural and institutional development framing law, political structures, etc.

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